All new for 2014, the shapely sophistication of the third-generation Mazda6 cleverly hides the new Mazda-engineered technology that lies under its new slippery skin. So slippery in fact, that its coefficient of drag at 0.26 makes the 2014 Mazda6 the sleekest in the mid-size sedan segment.
Already incorporated in the 2012 Mazda3 and 2013 CX-5, the redesigned 2014 Mazda6 is the next vehicle in the brand’s lineup to use SKYACTIV Technology. Developed solely by Mazda, SKYACTIV Technology is the umbrella term for Mazda’s performance-oriented, fuel-saving engine, transmission, body and chassis components.
Under the hood a 2.5-liter engine produces 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. With its abnormally high compression ratio of 13:1, this engine gets eight percent more horsepower and nearly 11 percent more torque than the MZR 2.5-liter engine it replaces. It’s standard equipment for all three trim levels, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, and can be paired with a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Even though the automatic transmission has some features that improve fuel economy, its performance is smooth, with almost transparent shifts. The manual gearbox, with its short, easy throws and nicely spaced ratios makes the Mazda6 a delight to drive.
The entry-level Sport equipped with a manual transmission, delivers fuel economy of 25/37/29, city/ highway/combined mpg. Compared to the previous generation, the 2014 Mazda6 model gets a 19 percent mpg increase in the city and 23 percent mpg increase on the highway. Results are similar with the automatic.
The 2014 Mazda6 has a sculptured, lean body with an overall length of 191.5 inches. It rides on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and P225/55R17 all-season tires for Sport models. Touring and Grand Touring vehicles get 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels with P225/45R19 Dunlop SP Sport 5000 all-seasons.
The driver-oriented cabin features intuitive functions, matched with a multitude of well-placed operational controls. The contoured dash is uncluttered and attractive. High-quality cloth or leather features are used on all surfaces, including the door panels. Gauges in the instrument cluster have lighting that makes them readably clear in bright daylight as well as darkness.
The three-spoke racing-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel is sure to appeal to enthusiasts and offers standard functional features such as a tilt-and-telescopic adjustable column with wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls.
There’s plenty of legroom front and rear with supportive, sport-bolstered front bucket seats and the 60/40-split fold-down rear seats. Six- or eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seats are standard on all but the Sport model. It has a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat.
For 2014 the Mazda6 has all-new infotainment and connectivity options. A 5.8-inch
touch screen controls phone, audio and navigation functions, but steering wheel
controls provide a more straightforward operation of the system.
Other available features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity as well as iPod audio playback in which iPod information can be accessed via the touch screen. Standard USB and auxiliary jack connection are located within the center console storage bin. An AM/FM/CD/MP3/-compatible head unit paired with a six-speaker sound system is standard for Sport and Touring models while Grand Touring models feature an 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System with AudioPilot as standard equipment.
When a smartphone is connected, Short Message Service (SMS) messages can be received and shown on the touch screen monitor. The system can then articulate the messages as well as allow users to send replies using fixed phrases. A new speech recognition system also allows users to repeat and shuffle audio tracks as well as search and select folders.
An optional Technology Package adds a TomTom in-dash navigation system, 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System with AudioPilot, keyless entry, automatic on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors with Homelink, heated outside mirrors and the all-new Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system.
SCBS is an added safety component designed to assist a driver in avoiding front collisions when traveling at low speeds. When the imbedded laser sensor detects an obtrusive object, and the driver fails to act the system applies the brakes.
Then there’s Lane Departure Warning System, High Beam Control, and i-ELOOP the world’s first capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system to provide power to all of the electrical devices in a vehicle.
SKYACTIV Technology is about improved safety as well. Designers at Mazda believe that drivers will feel secure in a vehicle that reacts as precisely and predictably as they react – steering and braking controls are linear, adjusting to small inputs with small actions and large actions to large inputs.
While the a front strut suspension and multi-link rear sub-assemblies may seem familiar, every individual component was examined to ensure it provides the greatest efficiency, lightest weight and offers the appropriate levels of driver involvement. Ride quality and handling dynamics are nicely balanced so that ride quality has not been sacrificed to enhance handling
The SKYACTIV-Body is made of 58 percent high-tensile steel, creating a lighter, stronger body for superior handling. This new body contributes to a 97-pound weight loss when compared to a previous generation.
Standard safety features for all 2014 Mazda6 models include six airbags (front, side and full side-curtain), whiplash-reducing front headrests, power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, daytime running lights, dynamic stability control, a traction control system, hill launch assist, a fold-away brake pedal assembly, a trunk entrapment release system, a tire pressure monitoring system, three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters as well as lower anchors and tethers for children.
On the road, the Mazda6 is a delight to drive and it’s fun to play with all of the built-in toys. Prices range from $20,880 to $29,495 plus options.